Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

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ST. PATRICKS DAY IN SYRACUSE
3:21 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Poster Artist Adds His Touch to Syracuse's St. Patrick's Festivities

Poster Artist John Francis McCarthy and Parade Pres. Janet Higgins.
Credit John Smith / WAER News

The green stripe has been painted on Salina Street.  Parade-goers are getting their green on.  It's time again for St. Patrick's Day Syracuse-style.  The 32nd annual parade gets underway Saturday at noon, and focuses on Ireland's 32 counties and four provinces.    But amid the revelry, floats, green beer, and Irish dancers is the the  poster designed with a piece of Irish history.  

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I-81'S FUTURE
2:28 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Experts to Share Transportation Project Experiences, Offer Insight on I-81

Interstate 81 looking north at the I-690 interchange.

A number of experts will be coming to the Syracuse area over the next few months to share their experiences with transportation projects on a scale similar to what’s ahead for Interstate 81.  The series is being organized and co-sponsored by the city, county, and state. County Executive Joanie Mahoney expects the experts will be a wealth of information.  Mahoney says the speakers are intended to complement the displays and materials at the Carnegie library on Columbus Circle where people can stop in at their leisure to learn more about the options and process.

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FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
6:15 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Food Bank Examines Scope of Hunger in Central New York

Volunteers from Dairy Marketing Services help sort food at the Food Bank of Central New York
Credit Food Bank of Central New York

The face of hunger is changing locally, according to an assessment completed by the Food Bank of Central New York.  The Food Bank recently wrapped up a survey of the scope of hunger in the region, and the results supported stories they’ve heard from their emergency food program partners.  Food Bank Executive Director Kathleen Stress says the picture of hunger has traditionally been a homeless man visiting a soup kitchen.  Now, she says it’s shifted, and it can be more present in your daily lives than you might expect:  

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VETERAN EMPLOYMENT
6:10 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

CNY Veterans Can "Start Up and Grow" at OCC

Credit sba.gov

Veterans and active members of the military will gather for workshops and networking next week in hopes of getting tools they need to start their own business.  The Small Business Administration’s 7th Annual "Operation: Start Up and Grow" conference will be held March 20th at Onondaga Community College.   

Cathy Pokines is Deputy District Director at the SBA.

Pokines says that foundation is designed to help veterans who already seem to be a natural fit for starting a business.   

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HIGHER EDUCATION
12:34 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Cornell University President to Head Smithsonian Institution

Cornell University President David Skorton
Credit Cornell University

The leader of one of the nation's most prestigious universities will depart next year to head the world's largest museum and research complex.  David Skorton will be relocating to Washington D.C. in July 2015 to lead the Smithsonian Institution.  His appointment was approved by a vote of the Smithsonian Board of Regents on March 9.   In a news release, Chair of Cornell's Board of Trustees Robert Harrison has nothing but praise for Skorton:

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